Alasdair Strokosch cannot wait to scrum down with Italy this weekend - but has vowed not to get drawn into the kind of battle that could undermine Scotland's RBS 6 Nations cause.
The Gloucester flanker, 26, loves nothing more than getting stuck into the opposition - but he recognises the Scots cannot overstep the mark.
Strokosch said: “That’s the danger, isn’t it? But there’s nobody else who can make sure we don’t except us out on the pitch.
“So it’s really down to us to hold our discipline and do what we’ve been told to do.”
Treading the line between aggression and ill-discipline can be tricky in the heat of battle but Strokosch is sure he knows where it lies.
“You do everything legally but just as hard as you can,” he said. “If you’re hitting a ruck or making a tackle or carrying the ball, just go as hard as you can.
“But don’t start kicking people or poking them in the eye.”
With his closely-shaven head, Strokosch is a fearsome character but, although he freely admits to loving the physical side of the game, he insists his mental state during matches is one of serenity.
“I tend to be quite relaxed when I go out on the field, to be honest,” he said.
“I don’t work myself up or anything. I just stay quite quiet and enjoy the game.”
This weekend is arguably the ultimate test of that demeanour, with Scotland knowing they cannot afford to lose to Italy if they are to stand any chance of rescuing their RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Having lost both their opening games, Frank Hadden’s men would be left with another battle to avoid the wooden spoon should they fail to beat the Azzurri.
And having lost their two previous tournament meetings with Saturday’s opponents, the wrong result could also have dire consequences for the head coach.
Strokosch admits the whole squad are haunted by a fear of failure.
He said: “We’ve played two and haven’t won yet and that’s something that’s been a big chip on everyone’s shoulder.
“We know we haven’t played well either, which is another chip, and all these things go together to make you pretty desperate.”
He added: “We’ve put ourselves in a bit of a hole, like we always do. I’m kind of getting used it.”
There is pressure from every quarter for Scotland to deliver this weekend but Strokosch warned fans not to expect too much.
He said: “If you look at our record against Italy, it’s pretty even, I think.
“We’ve never gone out there and put 50 points on Italy so it’s really disrespectful for us to think we’ve got a right to go out there and win.
“It’s going to be just as hard a game as any other.”
The key to success this weekend will be winning the forward battle and, to that end, having star prop Euan Murray back from a rib injury is a massive boost.
Strokosch said: “He gives us a big lift. He’s a great guy to have around the squad, whether he’s playing or not.
“It’s confidence-lifting when you see him dominate the scrum.”
He added: “We like to see the scrum as a weapon of ours. It’s come on over the years and in the autumn it was really, really good.
“It hasn’t been as much of a weapon the first couple of games.
“We know we can use it as an attacking platform and use it to disrupt them as well.”